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Lyons City Council Members Hear Updates on Buildings Impacted by Collapse Nov. 12

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By Lucky Kidd

 

LYONS, Kan. — Lyons City Council members heard updates on where things are currently at on the collapse of the back part of the buildings at 105 and 107 West Main Nov. 12 at Monday’s Council meeting.

Mayor Dustin Schultz praised the work of City Administrator Eddy Truelove and many city staff members, including the Fire Department which made the initial response, along with the police and public works departments. Of Truelove’s response, the mayor said he was “an absolute leader through this, and that’s a real blessing. Schultz was also on the scene throughout the initial response to the incident.

Truelove said as a new administrator he was keenly observing the response of staff, and was extremely pleased at the way they responded to this emergency situation, as well as that of building owner Derek McCloud who worked closely with city officials and has already taken out some of the preliminary demolition permits. The city and McCloud have already brought in structural engineers to look over the building, the city using EBH and McCloud Iowa-based Moller Engineering.

The two businesses most affected by the collapse, Yeraldi’s Boutique and County Seat Bar and Grill, were able to access the building late last week to remove inventory and much equipment. It also affected buildings to the immediate east and west.

McCloud said it’s his current intent to bring down the upper part of the building in-line with other buildings in the block and install a new flat roof. McCloud said he’s making arrangements to bring in structural scaffolding to facilitate the repair project, though the timeline for that is not yet known. Some work has already been done on the north side of the building.

Work is in the process of being done on the north side of the structure. Wray and Sons Roofing from Hutchinson brought in a crane over the weekend and did work to save the remaining buildings to the east. McCloud said the removal of the front of the building, which is bowed out some 8-10 inches in places, will be done from west to east, the reverse of how it was constructed in 1884. A specialized contractor will be brought in to remove the roof from the partially collapsed building.

The Council voted to rescind, at least for now, a $10,000 commitment it made earlier this year to the Rice County Alliance for the Gathering Space project. These funds were part of a local match commitment for a Community Development Block Grant application that was not approved.

Truelove said it wasn’t clear from Council minutes earlier this year if the funding commitment was contingent on receiving the grant, however Council members indicated that was their intent. This commitment potentially could have caused an issue at audit time next year.

The Council tabled a request to extend water service to Cecil Burdette’s dog park, for which a Community Grant was awarded from the Rice County Community Foundation to purchase a dog and human water fountain. Burdette also is asking the city to consider waiving the monthly base charge for the park, paying just for actual usage. Council members deferred action to the second January meeting to determine if remaining funds from the grant could be used to cover material cost for extending that line. The fountain has already been purchased.

Also tabled was a recommendation to appoint Terry David to the 20th Judicial District Community Corrections Advisory Board. This is to fill a position designated for the City of Lyons that is now vacant. A person previously appointed to the board from Lyons never attended any meetings. Council members inquired about appointing someone from law enforcement, however it’s been indicated by Director Amy Boxberger there is already a significant law enforcement presence on the advisory board, and they would like to see more diversity in its membership.

The Council did approve the appointment of the city administrator as the designated primary representative to the Board of Directors of the Kansas Municipal Gas Agency and heard an annual report from Rice County Economic Development Director Stacy Clark on transient guest tax revenues. That tax is divided between the county, Lyons and Sterling, with Lyons’ funds going to the Chamber of Commerce for tourism and convention related activities.

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